Rock Church to open childcare

Published 9:51 am Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Jill Dillon, left, and her son Dallas, 2, pose for a picture in the midst of building a church out of blocks. Jill Dillon and Rock Church are starting a childcare center at the church for children ages 2-5. They are seeking to fill 20 spots. -- CAIN MADDEN | TIDEWATER NEWS

Jill Dillon, left, and her son Dallas, 2, pose for a picture in the midst of building a church out of blocks. Jill Dillon and Rock Church are starting a childcare center at the church for children ages 2-5. They are seeking to fill 20 spots. — CAIN MADDEN | TIDEWATER NEWS

FRANKLIN—Over the years, Jill Dillon has heard parents in her church talk about a need in the community. With the way the economy is, it has become necessary for many families to have both parents working. But if they do, where do they put their children?

“People have had to put their kids in childcare because they need to have two incomes coming into the house to support home payments and all of that stuff,” Dillon said. “It’s important that they are in a loving environment all of the time and are being talked to on their level. They benefit a lot from that.”

With that in the back of her mind, Dillon went back to school through online courses to get her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. Her four boys were eventually going to all be in school, and she wanted something to do. Originally, the plan had been to teach in a local public school, but things changed.

“God just kind of showed us that we had an opportunity here, where we could just stretch the school down and cover the younger children,” she said of herself and husband, Danny Dillon. “This is what we want at Rock Church. We just want to be able to reach the community and serve the city of Franklin.

“Especially with something so dear to parents’ hearts as taking care of their kids. We want to be there when they can’t be.”

When she did her student teaching at Meherrin Elementary School, it helped solidify that she wanted to teach children. Linda Drake, who runs the pre-k there, was one of the teachers she worked with.

“I learned so much from her,” Dillon said. “I saw what she did with the 4-year-olds out there, and I just thought, ‘man this would be so much fun to do with 3-year-olds and 2-year-olds just because I know all the kids in the county don’t get into the pre-k program.’”

And so Rock Church will open the Rocking Chair Childcare as the new school year opens with a projected start date of Sept. 1.

Dillon said they are going to limit the roster to 20 spots to focus on giving each child one-on-one care.

“I think the smaller environment will benefit children because each kid will get more attention,” she said.

Rocking Chair will mold its curriculum around the children they get, rather than having a set one for all children. And while there might be lessons during the day, it’ll be more about playing.

“We want it to be where it is fun, so that it’s not quite as structured as school,” she said. “But it also won’t be just them sitting digging in the dirt all day.”

Children learn best when they are playing, so they will have toys that include teaching them how to build, how to play in the kitchen, as well as basics such as coloring, cutting and pasting.

“We want to teach them manners and how to play well together,” Dillon said. “We want to prepare them for school, and get them in a nice loving educational environment without having so many demands on them with testing and everything.”

As a religiously exempt childcare center, they will also educate children on God, so they will also be able to tell Bible stories and teach children little Sunday school songs.

“We have the freedom to do that kind of thing,” she said. “In public daycare, they have to tiptoe around it.”

Helping out at the center will be Denise Oswald, who has been working at the school as a monitor for years. Dillon said there are also two other ladies who can step in if need be.

Dillon said she was looking forward to serving Franklin’s working parent community in this way.

“I think the fact that we are only going to have 20 kids is a major advantage,” she said. “It is like a home daycare, where you are going to have a small group of kids, but it is at a church, so I feel like that helps. And we also have a school here, with a lot of great people around helping it.

“Having the backing of the church is amazing, I don’t know if I would want to do it without that.”

Rocking Chair Childcare will cost $125 per week, and as stated, they are looking to fill up to 20 spots. It is for children ages 2-5. The hours will be 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. This will be in a newly built addition to the church on 130 Lakeview Road in Franklin.

For more information, or to sign up, call Dillon at 562-3878. If no one answers, she said to leave a message. It’s summer, and they are more relaxed at the church, Dillon said.

You can also email her at

The center will not only have the leaders of the church backing it, but the program will have someone who is doing what she loves to do. Even before Dillon was in high school, she knew she was going to work with children one day.

“My second-grade teacher was Lynn Ivey at Franklin,” she said. “I loved her. It seemed like from second grade on, that’s what I wanted to do was teach kids.”

Of course, when she got older, questions came up about that, but then she had children of her own.

“I love it,” she said. “I love seeing them learn new things. It is very rewarding for me just to see each little thing that they figure out how to do. That’s where my heart is.”